Smart Lighting: Something for Everyone
336 views | February 11, 2021

Smart Lighting: Something for Everyone

Smart lighting continues to evolve quickly and can reference a wide range of products, from intelligent bulbs to smart systems connected in a home network. Learn more about the latest uses and features of smart lighting here.

Introduction

Smart technology has had major advancements in the past few years. It’s hard to keep pace with every new device. This is especially true for smart lights and smart bulbs.

Smart light bulbs can be connected to a home network and controlled from a phone app, a hub or a voice assistant - like an Amazon® Alexa or Google Home®. Smart bulbs can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled remotely to manage a wide variety of lighting functions, including brightness, color, on/off timing and other functions the bulb may offer. Some of these functions include a built-in speaker, video camera, or Wi-Fi range extender. These features are even accessible away from home through a smartphone or tablet device.

While wireless smart lighting may be the most common type, all smart bulbs may not include wireless connectivity. They may include other features that allow them to be categorized as smart bulbs; motion-detection bulbs, day/night bulbs, battery back-up bulbs and delayed-off units.

As the range of benefits increase with technology, there are standard features common in all smart bulbs, including:

  • Energy efficiency – smart lighting systems use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, as opposed to traditional incandescent. According to the Department of Energy, LEDs use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.1
  • Convenience – Smart bulbs offer convenient control of on/off functions through a mobile app. Some bulbs take convenience even further with built-in motion sensors that turn the lights on automatically when approached. And some bulbs pair with voice assistants that can be controlled through voice commands.
  • Enhanced functionality – Smart bulbs may be very distinct from one another and provide different benefits, but one thing they all have in common is they offer capabilities above and beyond traditional light bulbs.

Types of Smart Lighting

While smart bulbs share similar benefits, they each include functions that make them uniquely different. There are several types of smart light bulbs and some popular versions include:

Smart Bulbs

Flipping a switch is not the only way to turn lights on and off. Many smart bulbs can be app-controlled, voice controlled, or remotely controlled by smart switches. This type of control is perfect for lights that were accidentally left on after leaving the house.

*Example Products – Sengled Element®, Philips® Hue Single Color, Eufy® Lumos, GE® C-Life.

Light-adjustable Bulbs

Lights can completely change the ambiance and mood of any room. Light-adjustable smart bulbs allow for this change. The two main categories are:

  • Tunable white bulbs - The white color temperature can be adjusted from soft white to broad daylight. This is useful for many activities; cooking in the kitchen, applying makeup in front of the bathroom mirror, relaxing while watching TV or reading a book.
  • Color-adjustable bulbs - These bulbs have a variety of color options which can be changed according to mood or activity. This type may be useful for hosting parties or customizing home décor.

*Example Products – Sengled® Element Color, Philips® Hue Single Color, TP-Link® Kasa Multicolor

Audio Bulbs

A smart bulb with a built-in Bluetooth speaker. Ideal for listening to music, getting morning news updates, or listening to podcasts around the house. The audio quality of these bulbs has drastically improved and unlike regular speakers, they do not take up additional space. Some bulbs even change color according to the music playing!

*Example Products – Sengled Pulse®, Texsens® Bluetooth, Ustellar® Smart Music

Emergency Bulbs

Some smart bulbs have been designed specifically for emergency situations, offering a back-up battery so the light will illuminate for a period of time even when the power goes out. This type of bulb can be removed from the fixture and used as a flashlight. They are great for hallways, entryways, and any other areas that need to be accessed in a power outage.

*Example Products – Sengled® Everbright, JackonLux® Battery Backup, HAYLO® Emergency

Motion-sensing Bulbs

An extremely reliable and popular way to conserve energy is to install motion sensor lights. These are great for mudrooms, pantries, laundry rooms or any space with light foot traffic or when entering with hands full. The light will detect movement and only illuminate when motion is detected. Outdoor versions are helpful for safety and security by illuminating visitors or suspicious activity.

*Example Products – Sengled® Smartsense, Aukora® Motion Activated, JackonLux® Outdoor

Security Camera Bulbs

While motion-sensing is one way to ward off intruders, some bulbs combine this function with video camera security. Combining the camera and the bulb makes for easier installation indoors or outdoors, and can be monitored anywhere from a smartphone or tablet.

monitored anywhere from a smartphone or tablet. *Example Products – Key & Parents® 2 MegaPixel HD Camera Light Bulb, Oak & Hearth® LED Wireless Panoramic (360) Home Security Light Bulb, and Sengled Snap Security Camera Bulb

* FirstEnergy Home’s review of this product is solely opinion. FirstEnergy Home did not receive compensation for the review. FirstEnergy Home, and any FirstEnergy affiliates, are not affiliated with the manufacturer of the product, nor is there any endorsement or sponsorship between the product manufacturer of the product and FirstEnergy Home or any of its affiliates.

Things to Consider

When considering smart lights there are 2 things to keep in mind.

Alternative options

Smart lighting technology is still relatively new but there are many choices. Before purchasing be sure to check the customer satisfaction ratings, price, and functionality reviews.

Compatibility

It is common for smart devices to integrate with one another. It’s important to check requirements before purchase to receive full feature functionality. Also, be prepared to purchase any required accessories needed for the bulb. For instance, a smart bulb with voice control needs to be paired with a voice assistant like Google Home® or Amazon® Alexa. Similarly, bulbs controlled through an app may require a compatible hub, which may be sold separately.

Conclusion

Smart lighting can add to the safety, creativity and energy efficiency of a home. Be sure to check functionality and its compatibility with other devices. Smart lighting can be a wise investment to reduce energy consumption while providing exceptional convenience.

To learn more about smart home devices, please browse other articles in our Learning Library.

FAQs

What can smart lights do?

Every smart light includes unique features. Smart lights are energy-efficient and offer remote mobile control from a smartphone or tablet. One of the most popular features of smart lights is that they allow changes in color and brightness. Additional features of smart lights are described in detail above.

What is the best smart lighting?

It can be pretty overwhelming to choose from the wide range of options available. The best smart lighting will include the features that are specific to the purchaser.

How do I install smart lights in my home?

Smart light bulbs can be easily installed. A few simple steps are all that’s required.

  • Remove the old bulb and replace with the smart bulb.
  • Download the smart device app on a phone or tablet.
  • Set up the new smart lights on the app.
  • Control the smart lights from the smartphone.
Are smart bulbs worth it?

In terms of features, yes, smart lighting offers enhanced functions. Smart lights provide convenience which traditional bulbs can’t provide. All smart bulbs are energy efficient. For many, the convenience and efficiency benefits make smart bulbs worth the purchase.

Do smart bulbs work with normal switches?

Yes, smart bulbs will work with normal switches like a conventional bulb.

Will smart bulbs work if Wi-Fi goes out?

In most cases, the app will not work. However, here is where the traditional switch comes in handy. The smart bulb will still function like a traditional light bulb when the internet connection goes down.

Do smart lights use power when off?

Yes, smart bulbs are on when they’re not producing light because of the connection to the Wi-Fi or hub; this is how the bulb communicates. But it’s basically unnoticeable in terms of wattage and energy usage.

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